Three weeks into the New Year and six women have been murdered by men in Australia. Male violence and male sexual violence is plaguing the women of this country, the victims ever growing, and though a national conversation has finally started about Domestic Violence in Australia, which is great, it falls way too short of the problem to get us anywhere, as it has failed to address why? Why are men doing this to us, treating us this way? And as Eve Ensler asked of the ‘good men’, “Where the hell are you?”
Tom Meagher, whose wife was raped and murdered in 2012 by a man who the parole board failed to take off the streets, speaks publically about the Monster Myth here. There are no monsters, these are everyday men of this society, of this culture. What is monstrous here is this culture of masculinity, which most men, even anti-violence campaigners, want to bypass in this national conversation.
So we have to ask again are men born killers and rapists, born abusers of females, or are they shaped, socialised, trained, by the culture they are raised in? And if you are a male and you agree with the latter, then as Former Victorian Police Commissioner said, have a look at yourself. Also we need to talk. And this means listening to us, women.
As Sheila Jeffreys states; “I think that in Australia this is hard to understand, it’s a very masculinist culture, and I think that prostitution and the sex industry generally and the privileges men have to abuse women in this way is so accepted that people are outraged to think that there actually might be other values, but believe me there are, and in fact Australia is quite low, very low in the index of OECD nations on gender equality, and it’s because there’s a very masculinised culture”.
We also need tougher penalties for male perpetrators of violence and sexual violence against women, to send a clear message that this will no longer be tolerated, as Julie Bindel states here, “domestic violence is a crime, not an illness …beating up your partner should carry as serious a consequence as assaulting a member of the public in the street.”
Now there are sure to be cries of “not all men”, but by what barometer? What is the standard of ‘Not all men’? Is it just not beating and murdering women? Because one in three men would rape a woman if they could get away with it. Is it not forcing non-consensual sex/raping women? Because 28% of rapes happen within a relationship with a man, and many, many Australian men pay as little as they can to act out their ‘fantasies’ on real women, no matter the harm to these women.
The national statistic for the last few years was that just over one woman a week will be murdered by their current or former male partners in Australia. By the end of last year there were approximately 1.5 women a week murdered by men. So far 2015 is resembling the statistics of the UK which has a far larger population. As for the next week, and the one after that, sadly I know better than to hold my breath for men to just stop killing us, we know reality better than that.
If you are a woman suffering domestic violence contact – 1800Respect or Call 1800 737 732
Directory of rape crisis services in all Australian states and territories – Sexual Assault Support Services Directory
If you are man seeking help with your violence contact – Men’s Referral Service or Call 1300 766 491
For men wanting to be a part of the solution contact – No To Violence